The Parramatta Eels have come away with a gritty come from behind victory over the Wests Tigers in Round Seven of the competition, and Blue & Gold centre Michael Jennings says it was positive for the side to come away with the two points.
However he knows there is still plenty of areas to improve on.
“It was a great effort on the weekend and a gutsy effort for our boys. We have let games slip away trying to crawl back into a game, and it’s good to come away with the actual two points than to lose.” Jennings said.
“It’s a great effort, but there is still a lot to improve on, because the 22 points are not our standards and what we pride ourselves on so there is a lot to work on.”
Over the past few weeks, the Eels completions and possession were areas to improve, and Jennings said that whilst the side was conceding plenty of errors, Head Coach Brad Arthur did not want to stop them from playing football if the situation was right.
“With the little things, our unforced errors, that is things that you don’t want but when we are forcing errors on trying to create plays.” Jennings said.
“I think Brad will never stop us from playing football and that is what our team is good at, playing some great footy and spreading that ball around.”
“He is not disappointed in the errors if they are from creating opportunities, but the unforced errors that creep into the game can lose you the game.”
Jennings along with several other Eels teammates will come up against their former club, the Penrith Panther this week, and the centre said the side were looking forward to the challenge.
“Its good to always play against Penrith, up against the old club and old mates. It’s good to have that challenge and I am looking forward to it,” Jennings said.
“I see it as another game, when I left four years ago, it’s all in the past now and the bitterness is gone. I am really just focused on getting the win this week.”
“There are a few boys that are ex-Penrith boys, the development there at Penrith is awesome, and it’s a good opportunity for some of our boys to step up and play their old club,” he added.
Jennings had what he labelled as his best game of the season last week, running for 217m, 13 tackles and one try, however the centre said there was still plenty of areas to improve on.
With representative duties looming, Jennings said that issue was not on the fore front of his mind.
“It has been a bit patchy for myself, there is still a lot to improve on. I am not happy where I am at. I feel like I can give more to the team and in time that will come,” Jennings said.
“It’s a slow start for myself, but I am really focussing on myself this week and what my role is to bring to the team.”
“There are a great quality centres there [in contention for rep honours], and it’s good for myself because I want to cement that spot.” Jennings added.
“The challenge is there for whether I want to put my foot forward and tell the selectors I am there to be picked, but it’s totally up to me on my form.”
“I am not really focused on that to be honest, I am focused on playing each week as it comes, and doing my job for Parramatta.”
Over the last week, the media have been speculating on the arrival of half Mitchell Moses, and Jennings said that there will be a tough decision to make if he arrives at the Blue & Gold, however for now, the depth in the reshuffled Eels backline is strong.
“That’s the great thing, is that we have great depth here at the Eels. There are a lot of players, that when Moses comes over, there will be a lot of reshuffling and there will be some tough calls for Brad, but that is the great depth we have at Parramatta which is good.” Jennings said.
“That is just putting everyone on notice to play their best footy and that’s just the challenge for each player in the team.” He added.
“It’s a good challenge to have and that’s part of footy. You want to keep motivated each week and that is the motivation for some players to keep their spots.”
The Eels kick off against the Penrith Panthers in Round Eight of the NRL Telstra Premiership at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 22 April. Kick off is at 3pm.